1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prayer: In Accordance with God's Will

Pocket Devotions

Romans 8:27
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Thoughts for Today:

Paul also told us "we do not know what we ought to pray for." Why? Because we lack wisdom. However, it's important to understand this doesn't mean we should stop praying. Some people think if we don't know how to pray or what to pray for, and if the Spirit is going to pray for us anyway (today's passage), then we don't need to pray at all. Yet, God still wants us to pray. Why? Consider the following passages: Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." James 5:16: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." 1 Peter 4:12: "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Let me ask some questions: Are we to pray with the idea that God will change His mind about a particular event? Perhaps if we ask often enough He will finally give in? That somehow God will see things the right way, our way? Of course not. Prayer is not about aligning God's will with our own, but adjusting our thinking to God's. So what happens when we pray? The Holy Spirit knows what God has planned for us, what is already in store. It's all waiting for us. The Holy Spirit's job is to get us to want it, and then ask for it.

Questions to Ponder:

What happens when we ask for things in prayer that God already has in store for us?
That's right: He answers our prayer. He gives us what we ask. Why?
Because we have asked according to His will.
Philippians 2:13: "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
How do we get to a place where our desire is to know God's Will?  
When we place God's perfect plan above our own.
Will you yield to God?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Earnestly Seeking God?

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Pocket Devotions 

Romans 8:16
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

Thoughts for Today:

Not long ago I was speaking to a non-believer about my faith.
He asked me, "How do you know what the Bible says is true?
How do you know Jesus is the son of God? Isn't that a bit far-fetched?
Come on, isn't there some little tiny bit of doubt in your head?"

My answer was Paul's statement from our passage today:
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit..." You see a long time ago, in a time of great personal distress and crisis I went to the mat with the Lord -- I struggled and wrestled with belief. My faith was being tested and to be honest I had some doubts. On my knees I cried out in anguish, "Lord, if you are real I need to know!" The Lord answered my prayer -- He gave me His comfort and I was forever changed. Ultimately God did not answer my prayer in exactly the way or timeframe I had imagined. But it didn't matter because from that moment on I have known for certain that God is both real and personal.
("The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.")

I offered two additional scriptures for my non-believing acquaintance to consider --
Hebrews 11:6: "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him," and Matthew 7:7: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
I explained to him that the operative word in both of these Scriptures is "seek". Then I asked him, "Do you have a true desire to know God? Because if you do, God will reveal Himself to you. All you have to do is ask and seek -- then you will find. It's guaranteed."

Questions to Ponder:

When was the last time you sought after God?
How does your approach to life's daily challenges reflect your faith?
Are you still trying to manage your own affairs?
Do you allow the Lord to comfort you in times of distress?
How bad does it need to be before you call upon the Lord?
No problem is too big or too small for the Lord.
Don't wait any longer.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Holy Spirit: Our Help Right Here, Right Now

Pocket Devotions


Romans 8:11
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Thoughts for Today:

Christ's death on the cross is God's way of getting at the core of sin in our body, mind, and spirit. God condemned mankind's sinful nature on the cross so it would have no more right or control over us. However, He did not eliminate sin -- He only removed its consequence (for believers) which is death. It's important to realize it is the Holy Spirit who is our Deliverer from sin while we remain in our mortal bodies. He is our help right here and now.

Paul writes: "He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you." The Holy Spirit allows us to live the Christian life where we are today -- in the middle of this sin infested world. In other words, down here is where we need the help which God has given us through His Holy Spirit. In John 17:15 Jesus prayed for us: "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that
you protect them from the evil one." The Holy Spirit is God's answer to Jesus' prayer.

Questions to Ponder:

How are we to deal with our sinful nature?
How do we overcome our tendency to give in to fleshly habits, activities or desires?
Paul tells us:
The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is in us,
and He will live His life through us. God has given us His own Spirit to claim victory over our sinful nature.
Isn't that cause for great celebration?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Do You Have the Spirit of Christ?

Pocket Devotions

Romans 8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Thoughts for Today:

In Acts 19, when Paul first arrived in Ephesus, he met some men who knew about Jesus, had been taught about Jesus, and even might have believed that Jesus was Messiah. However, the big problem was Paul didn't see any evidence of the Holy Spirit. So he asked them (verses 2-7), "'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' They answered, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' So Paul asked, 'Then what baptism did you receive?' 'John's baptism,' they replied. Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."

If we are not conscious of the Spirit's presence in our lives then it would be wise to do what Paul instructs in 2 Corinthians 13:5: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you -- unless, of course, you fail the test?" Knowing about Jesus, reading the Bible, memorizing Scripture, doing good works, or regular attendance at church does not equate to salvation. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior will do. This is what Paul means when he writes: "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." I think we make an error when we divide Christians into the two categories of Spirit-filled and non-Spirit-filled. Paul's point today is simple: If a person does not have God's Holy Spirit, then they are not a Christian at all.

Questions to Ponder:

Do you belong to Christ ?  How do you know ?
Do you just have information about Jesus or a relationship ?
Ask yourself these questions:
Has the Spirit given you the desire to honor Jesus?
Is the Spirit guiding you to become more like Jesus?
Is the Spirit at work in your heart? In your life?
If you don't know or are unsure, ask God for His Holy Spirit.
The Bible says,
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Equip your chidren to stand firm in their faith.

“…Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” - 1 Peter 3:15
As back-to-school approaches, now is the time to prepare your kids spiritually for what lies ahead. Forgiveness, jealousy, sin, purity and more the READY REFERENCE guide is a pocket-sized resource to equip students with the foundational truths that will help them stand firm and grow in their faith. 
Kids often ask, "What does the Bible say about...?" Create a special family devotional time to answer their questions. And use the READY REFERENCE as a guide for family Scripture memorization.
From the A-B-C's of salvation, key Bible passages by topic, prophecies fulfilled, how to live a Christian life and much more the READY REFERENCE guide is a great family resource for back-to-school and all year long! 
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